As it happened: James Murdoch at the Leveson Inquiry

Key points

  • Labour calls on Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to resign after suggestions during the evidence of News Corporation's James Murdoch that he supported the firm's bid for BSkyB
  • Mr Murdoch denies the culture secretary acted as a "cheerleader" for the bid, as the inquiry hears of emails suggesting regular contact between Mr Hunt's staff and News Corp PR executives
  • Mr Murdoch admits having a brief discussion with PM David Cameron about News Corp's controversial bid to buy out BSkyB at a Christmas dinner on 23 December 2010

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  1.  
    0955:

    Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of James Murdoch's evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press.

    As News International chairman, Mr Murdoch was the head of his father Rupert's newspaper operations when the phone-hacking scandal emerged - but he resigned from the post in February.

     
  2.  

    Here's Mr Murdoch a short while ago arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice.

    James Murdoch
     
  3.  
    0958:

    The inquiry in central London - led by Lord Justice Leveson - is expected to grill him about what he knew about phone hacking and when.

    It is the first time either of the Murdochs have appeared before the inquiry. Rupert Murdoch's evidence begins on Wednesday.

     
  4.  
    1002:

    James Murdoch is likely to be asked again whether he was aware of allegations that the practice of illegally intercepting voicemails went beyond News of the World royal reporter Clive Goodman.

     
  5.  
    1005:

    Mr Murdoch tells the inquiry he resigned as BSkyB chairman "for the simple reason that I wanted to avoid becoming a lightening rod".

     
  6.  
    1009:

    When he arrived at News International in 2007, Mr Murdoch says, he wanted a more open, collaborative management structure and brought editors more into management discussions.

     
  7.  
    1012:

    Mr Murdoch is being asked about the legal compliance procedures at the newspapers.

     
  8.  
    1013:

    "Corporate reputation is something that's important to a business in respect to its licence with its customers... legal risk plays into that," says Mr Murdoch.

     
  9.  
    1015:

    Asked if he read the News of the World, Mr Murdoch replies: "I wouldn't say I read all of it. I read it from time to time." Of the Sun, he adds: "I tried to familiarise myself with it."

     
  10.  
    Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: James Murdoch said he received assurances about editorial training & ethics #Leveson

     
  11.  
    1018:

    Mr Murdoch tells Robert Jay QC, the lead counsel to the inquiry, that in 2007 he wanted to have a tight management team that shared regular information about the business.

     
  12.  
    1022:

    If you want to know more about the man giving evidence, read our profile of James Murdoch, outlining his role in his father Rupert's media empire.

     
  13.  
    Peter Hunt Royal correspondent

    We've had one "I don't remember" and one "I don't recall".

     
  14.  
    Robert Peston, Business editor, BBC News

    tweets: James Murdoch says he does not know the political views of Sun Editor, Mohan

     
  15.  
    Andy Davies, Home Affairs Correspondent Channel 4 News

    tweets: Murdoch statement: I liked to be updated by editors, but not all the time

     
  16.  
    Peter Hunt, Royal correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Leveson Murdoch rejects idea ends justified the means at the News of the World.

     
  17.  
    1030:

    As the questioning moves on to phone hacking, Mr Murdoch insists again he was not shown the so-called For Neville email.

     
  18.  
    1031:

    Mr Murdoch is asked about phone hacking at the now-defunct News of the World. He says he was given assurances that illegally-intercepted voicemails had not gone beyond royal reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

     
  19.  
    1032:

    "The paper had been investigated throughly, no new evidence was found, the police had closed their case," Mr Murdoch says.

     
  20.  
    Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: James Murdoch restates key assertion he wasn't shown For Neville email in 2008 meeting

     
  21.  
    1034:

    If you're wondering why Mr Murdoch finds himself answering all these questions, check out our Q&A setting out what the Leveson Inquiry is all about.

     
  22.  
    Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: James Murdoch says he was told paper had been investigated on hacking, no new evidence; again his long standing position

     
  23.  
    1041:

    The inquiry discusses the so-called "For Neville" email in detail for the first time. The email was sent by a junior News of the World reporter to private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2008, and contained the illegally obtained transcripts of voicemails belonging to football union boss Gordon Taylor. Mr Murdoch tells the inquiry: "I did not know of the email until 2010 and that remains my position."

     
  24.  
    Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: James Murdoch: wasn't aware of Goodman claims others were involved. Jay: are you sure about that Mr Murdoch? #Leveson

     
  25.  
    Mark White, Home Affairs Correspondent for Sky News

    tweets: Murdoch being questioned on specifics of a briefing re phone hacking on 27th May 2008. He tells #leveson he doesn't recall the specifics!

     
  26.  
    1044:

    The phone-hacking scandal and Leveson Inquiry have revealed a tangled web of connections between senior figures in the media, the police and politics. Find out where James Murdoch featured in this power network through our interactive graphic.

     
  27.  
    Peter Hunt, BBC Royal correspondent

    tweets: Leveson Murdoch -- a flash of irritation? "we can examine it as long as you like. I am trying to be helpful

     
  28.  

    While Mr Murdoch gives evidence, protesters from the Avaaz group - which says it wants "people-powered politics" - have been wearing masks and waving anti-Murdoch placards outside the courts.

    Protesters in Murdoch masks bearing placards
     
  29.  
    1053:

    The inquiry hears about an email sent to Mr Murdoch in which football union boss Gordon Taylor said he wanted to prove that hacking was "rife throughout the organisation".

     
  30.  
    1054:

    Mr Murdoch says former News of the World editor Colin Myler drew his attention to the email, and that he was later given strong legal advice to settle the hacking case with Mr Taylor.

     
  31.  
    Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: James Murdoch: there wasn't a pro active desire (from Myler Crone) to bring me up to speed on these things

     
  32.  
    Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: This is almost word for word from JM's letter to MPs on not being told significance of For Neville email in terms of hacking #Leveson

     
  33.  
    1101:

    Mr Murdoch is asked why the offer of a \u00a3350,000 settlement to Gordon Taylor was offered without his authority. "It was reasonable for me to leave it to the editor and senior legal manager," he replies.

     
  34.  
    1113:

    Mr Murdoch denies there was either a "cover up" at the company or that he had not read his emails properly.

     
  35.  
    Robert Peston, BBC business editor

    tweets: James Murdoch denies either that there was cover-up of hacking in 2008 or a failure of governance. What is 3rd possibility?

     
  36.  

    Please note: the live video stream may contain some occasional bad language.

    James Murdoch
     
  37.  
    1123:

    Mr Murdoch says he was aware "in small detail" of a \u00a31m settlement with PR guru Max Clifford in March 2010. He says there was a commercial relationship with Mr Clifford which the newspaper wanted to "re-establish".

     
  38.  
    1123:

    The inquiry takes a 10 minute break.

     
  39.  
    Mike from Grimsby

    emails: It is absurd to claim the Murdochs didn't know about phone hacking and the other 'murky' activities going on at their businesses. Even if they didn't know, they should have, this would make them completely incompetent.

     
  40.  
    Andy Davies, Home Affairs Correspondent Channel 4 News

    tweets: James Murdoch's wife is attending the hearing, sitting next to Lachlan Murdoch

     
  41.  
    1131:

    While those in court take a break, here's a quick reminder of this morning's evidence:

    • Mr Murdoch repeated his previous assertion that he had been given assurances that phone hacking at the News of the World had not gone beyond a rogue reporter and private investigator
    • He repeated that he did not learn of the "For Neville" email - said to indicate phone-hacking was more widespread - until 2010
    • The former News International chairman admitted he had only read the now-defunct News of the World "from time to time"
     
  42.  
    Keir Simmons, UK Editor for ITV News

    tweets: James Murdoch's wife and his brother chat in the corner as James waits at the witness stand ready for the next session

     
  43.  
    1133:

    The inquiry resumes and moves on to the relationship between Mr Murdoch's newspapers and senior politicians.

     
  44.  
    1139:

    Mr Murdoch says the idea of News International's parent company News Corp acquiring the remaining shares in broadcaster BSkyB, in which it already holds a stake, started to come together in August 2009 in Los Angeles.

     
  45.  
    1141:

    Mr Murdoch describes social meetings with David Cameron when he was Leader of the Opposition. He says they discussed a "broad range" of subjects and denied that finding out his views would be of "commercial advantage" to his company.

     
  46.  
    Robert Peston, BBC business editor

    tweets: Cameron and James Murdoch had 8 dinners and breakfasts together between late June 2006 and 10 sept 2009

     
  47.  
    1148:

    Discussing News Corp's bid for the remaining shares in BSkyB, which was eventually dropped last July, he says he was "alive to the risk" that politics might influence his company's position. But he adds: "We rested on the soundness of the legal case."

     
  48.  
    1149:

    A reminder that you can read about James Murdoch's rise through the ranks of his father's media empire in our profile of him.

     
  49.  
    Robert Peston, BBC business editor

    tweets: On Sept 10 2009, James Murdoch organises drinks at George club with Cameron, leader of opposition, to discuss "Sun's proposed endorsement"

     
  50.  
    1152:

    Mr Murdoch says he discussed the BSkyB bid with Mr Cameron at the home of former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks on 23 December 2010 - seven months after he became prime minister.

     
  51.  
    1153:

    Around 15 people attended the gathering at the Brooks' home and he and the PM only touched on the subject for a "few moments", Mr Murdoch says.

     
  52.  
    Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Murdoch 23 Dec 2010 chat to PM was "tiny side conversation, not really a discussion" about BSkyB bid #Leveson

     
  53.  
    1156:

    You can read James Murdoch's written statement to the inquiry in full at the Leveson Inquiry website.

     
  54.  
    1158:

    Counsel to the Inquiry Robert Jay QC suggests it would have been a "bad outcome" for Mr Murdoch had Labour won the 2010 election, given he had committed the Sun newspaper to backing the Conservatives. Mr Murdoch describes that assessment as a "crass calculation".

     
  55.  

    Robert Jay QC, asking questions on behalf of inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson, continues to press Mr Murdoch on his relationships with politicians.

    Robert Jay QC
     
  56.  
    1212:

    Asked about his relationship with Chancellor George Osborne, Mr Murdoch says: "We have been friendly, I wouldn't say I was a close friend of his."

     
  57.  
    1212:

    Mr Murdoch says he discussed with Mr Osborne how the BSkyB bid was taking a long time when he attended his grace-and-favour home in Dorneywood, Buckinghamshire, on the one occasion he went there.

     
  58.  
    1216:

    Mr Murdoch says the "old-fashioned" view of big media proprietors "dominating the landscape" does not exist any more because people "multi-source" news in a variety of ways. Although people in Westminster may still believe that is the case, he does not, he adds.

     
  59.  
    1217:

    The UK's political correspondents are examining just how close Mr Murdoch is - or was - to David Cameron. The Daily Telegraph reckons the PM is likely to face renewed calls for a Cabinet Office inquiry into his meetings with the Murdochs.

     
  60.  
    Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Point is Murdoch doesn't accept he uses media clout to achieve business ends, Jay trying to say pols think that's case #Leveson

     
  61.  
    1221:

    Mr Murdoch says when BSkyB started to invest in cricket, a political debate followed. He was more interested in the legal arguments and whether it was right to broadcast the sport.

     
  62.  
    Richard from Dubai

    emails: I think everyone watching this enquiry well understands James Murdoch's ducking and diving prowess as well as his repeated convenient amnesia over many issues when pressed for unambiguous answers. It's almost comical.

     
  63.  
    1229:

    Mr Murdoch says Independent editor Simon Kelner went "beyond the pale" by erecting posters ahead of the last General Election which read: "Rupert Murdoch won't decide the election - you will".

     
  64.  
    1232:

    Mr Murdoch denies "storming in" to the Independent's offices but says he "wouldn't dispute using colourful language" when he called in to express his displeasure. The poster campaign "was not a decent way to go about [Mr Kelner's] business," he adds.

     
  65.  
    Andy Davies, Home Affairs Correspondent Channel 4 News

    tweets: Murdoch particularly upset as he claims Indy editor Kelner had been 'availing himself' of Murdoch hospitality 'for years'

     
  66.  
    Jonny Kiehlmann, Scottish PhD student at Imperial

    tweets So what Murdoch said at #Leveson is that he doesn't think it's right for those who ever accept his family's hospitality to criticise them?\u200f

     
  67.  
    1234:

    You can read how the impact of the phone-hacking scandal directly impacted on James Murdoch and his father, Rupert, in our timeline of key events since the News of the World's closure.

     
  68.  
    1237:

    If you're struggling to digest all the twists and turns of the phone-hacking scandal, our Q&A breaks things down in bite-sized chunks.

     
  69.  
    1240:

    Back to News Corp's bid for BSkyB now. Mr Murdoch says his company had "real issues" with the analysis of it by regulator Ofcom - which referred the bid to the Competition Commission.

     
  70.  
    1240:

    Mr Murdoch held two meetings with Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in January 2011 after he had acquired responsibility for presiding over it, the inquiry hears.

     
  71.  
    Simon Kelner, Former editor of The Independent

    tweets: J Murdoch says I was 'availing myself of his family's hospitality for a number of years'? Evidence? Complete slur.

     
  72.  
    Robert Peston, BBC business editor

    tweets: J Murdoch at #Leveson getting very interesting on circumstances behind Jeremy Hunt approving BSkyB bid in 2011

     
  73.  
    1246:

    Conservative Mr Hunt had taken over responsibility for the BSkyB bid from Business Secretary Vince Cable after the Lib Dem told undercover reporters he had "declared war on Rupert Murdoch" in December 2010.

     
  74.  
    Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Internal News Corp notes from public affairs exec Michel said DCMS sec Jeremy Hunt wd be supportive of BSkyB bid #Leveson

     
  75.  
    Simon Kelner, Former editor of The Independent

    tweets: Have never once been to a Murdoch summer or Christmas party. Unlike most of the political or media

     
  76.  
    Robert Peston, BBC business editor

    tweets: In Sept 2010, Michel calls Hunt or his advisers about a blog I wrote saying ofcom would review bskyb bid, within minutes of me publishing

     
  77.  
    1302:

    Discussing the BSkyB bid, Mr Murdoch angrily tells Robert Jay QC he would never link the political support of his papers to any commercial transaction. "I simply wouldn't do business that way," he says.

     
  78.  
    Robert Petson, BBC business editor

    tweets: Murdoch very grumpy at suggestion he trades support of his papers for Tories (or Lab) for help with takeover bid

     
  79.  
    1304:

    The inquiry adjourns until 14:00 BST.

     
  80.  
    1322:

    So, a quick round-up of what we've heard this morning:

    • Mr Murdoch stood by previous assertions he had never seen an email revealing phone hacking went beyond a single News of the World reporter
    • Inquiry counsel Robert Jay QC probed the extent of Mr Murdoch's access to government ministers
    • The former News International chairman revealed he had met David Cameron 12 times while he was Leader of the Opposition
     
  81.  
    1323:

    Our live coverage resumes when the inquiry returns from lunch at 14:00 BST.

     
  82.  
    1403:

    The hearing resumes.

     
  83.  
    1411:

    You can review Mr Murdoch's earlier evidence about his friendship with George Osborne, in which he spoke of staying with his family at the Chancellor's home, by watching our video clip.

     
  84.  
    1414: Robert Peston Business editor

    "James Murdoch's evidence... is becoming explosive over how News Corp pursued its ambition to buy the 61% of British Sky Broadcasting it does not own."

     
  85.  
    1416:

    Read more of BBC business editor Robert Peston's views on the "very bright light" being shone on News International's access to government in his blog.

     
  86.  
    1417:

    The inquiry hears details of confidential information from within government about News Corp's BSkyB bid, which was relayed back to Mr Murdoch by public affairs executives.

     
  87.  
    1418:

    Asked if he felt it was appropriate for his public affairs executives to have access to that confidential information, Mr Murdoch replies: "I was concerned with the substance of what was being communicated... more than reflecting on the channel [it came through]."

     
  88.  
    Gordon Rayner, Daily Telegraph

    tweets: Rupert Murdoch has submitted 163 pages of emails between News Corp lobbyist Frederic Michel and Hunt's [special adviser]. Bad news for Hunt?

     
  89.  
    1420:

    A quick reminder that our live video streaming of the hearing may contain offensive language from time to time.

     
  90.  
    1421:

    Mr Murdoch confirms he had discussed the BSkyB bid with Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, but he could not recall exactly when.

     
  91.  
    Joe Murphy, Political Editor, Evening Standard

    tweets: Will the #Leveson QC ask him the crucial question - what was the PM's response to James Murdoch's comments about merger?

     
  92.  
    Fiona Gilson from Derbyshire

    writes: I am puzzled as to what Mr Murdoch does. So far he claims that he is told nothing, asks no questions, remembers nothing, did nothing, met no one of importance and did not need to know what was going on. Can I have his job, please, sounds a doddle?

     
  93.  
    1430:

    Mr Murdoch is on the defensive again. He says it was "entirely reasonable" to press the UK government to speed up its decision on the BSkyB bid, during a speech in Barcelona.

     
  94.  
    1433:

    The UK press made his comments in the Barcelona speech appear to be a threat against the UK government, which it was not, Mr Murdoch adds.

     
  95.  
    Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror

    tweets: Leveson in brief: Cameron bumped Vince Cable for declaring war on Murdoch's BSkyB bid and promoted Jeremy Hunt to give him it on a platter

     
  96.  
    Robert Peston, BBC business editor

    tweets: Astonishing how much is being disclosed by News Corp about conversations with government. Very embarrassing for Jeremy Hunt and Osborne

     
  97.  
    1439:

    Business Secretary Vince Cable's comments to undercover reporters in 2010 that he had "declared war on Murdoch" exposed "acute bias", Mr Murdoch tells the inquiry.

     
  98.  

    Not everyone is impressed by what they have seen during the Leveson Inquiry, as the sandwich board worn by this protester outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London suggests.

    Protester wearing sandwich board
     
  99.  
    1448:

    For a look back at James Murdoch disagreeing with the suggestion that Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was a "cheerleader" for News Corp's bid to buy BSkyB outright, take a look at our video clip.

     
  100.  
    Andrew Neil, Presenter BBC1 This Week

    tweets: Westminster air thick with speculation re Jeremy Hunt's future in light of Murdoch testimony #Leveson. Murdoch testimony confirms Matthew Oakshott role as Vincent Cable go to man

     
  101.  
    1450:

    As News Corp waited for news on the BSkyB bid, emails were sent to Mr Murdoch revealing details originating from Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's advisers, the hearing is told.

     
  102.  
    1451:

    One of those emails said of Mr Hunt, who was presiding over the bid process: "He understands the cost of Competition Commission referral and potential damage to bid."

     
  103.  
    Labour MP Tom Watson

    tweets: I've been on this inquiry for three years, and *still* I am shocked. The web of connections between gov and NI is incredible

     
  104.  
    Robert Peston, BBC business editor

    tweets: Amazing Michel email of Jan 10. Implies Hunt's special adviser is trying to help bid go through

     
  105.  
    1458:

    To recap, much of the recent evidence has focused on emails to Mr Murdoch from Frederic Michel, News Corp's director of public affairs.

     
  106.  
    1458:

    In one message. Mr Michel indicated he had been told by one of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's advisers it was likely the government would be "supportive" of News Corp's bid to buy BSkyB outright.

     
  107.  
    1459:

    Mr Murdoch denies he felt the BSkyB deal was "in the bag". He tells the inquiry: "No, I was very worried because while we'd done as much as we could do, [the process] seemed interminable."

     
  108.  
    Robert Peston, BBC business editor

    tweets: Michel email says Jeremy Hunt shares "our objective" of buying whole of BSkyB

     
  109.  
    Robert Peston, BBC business editor

    tweets: Jeremy Hunt when advising on takeover is supposed to act as an impartial judge. The Michel emails deeply embarrassing for him

     
  110.  
    Robert Peston, BBC business editor

    tweets: Jan 24 Michel says in email that he has learned what Hunt to announce, but adds this "absolutely illegal"

     
  111.  
    Nick Sutton, Editor of The World at One

    tweets: And Ladbrokes have suspended bets on Jeremy Hunt being the next Cabinet Minister to leave

     
  112.  
    1509:

    In one email forwarded to Mr Murdoch, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt expresses the view that the "overall [BSkyB bid] process is in a good place". Mr Murdoch says it is "customary" in any commercially sensitive transaction for emails such as these to be marked "confidential".

     
  113.  
    1512:

    Another email from News Corp's director of public affairs Frederic Michel said that an adviser to Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond "will call Hunt whenever we need him to", the hearing is told.

     
  114.  
    1537:

    Mr Murdoch was given advance notice of the decision by Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading to refer the BSkyB bid to the Competition Commission, the hearing hears. Mr Murdoch says the email sent to him by Mr Michel was helpful for preparation, but not of value.

     
  115.  
    Chris Bryant, Labour MP for the Rhondda

    tweets: When I said the Tory party had become a partly owned subsidiary of news international, I hadn't realised quite how accurate that was!

     
  116.  
    1544:

    Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote in an email, forwarded to Mr Murdoch, that he would call the News International chairman directly in the coming days, counsel reveals.

     
  117.  
    1545:

    Did Mr Hunt fulfil his quasi-judicial role in the BSkyB process, counsel asks Mr Murdoch. "Throughout this process we saw he consulted widely, took advice from all sides and took advice from the [Office of Fair Trading] and Ofcom. I can't say he didn't," he replies.

     
  118.  
    Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Jay suggests Murdoch is blind to the obvious - that Hunt actions were quid pro quo for Sun support; Murdoch doesn't accept this

     
  119.  
    Evgeny Lebedev, Owner of The Independent titles and London Evening Standard

    tweets: Entertaining revelations at #Leveson today. looking forward to @rupertmurdoch tomorrow. suspect he'll try to bring down the Government. Forgot to tell #Leveson that it's unreasonable to expect individuals to spend \u00a3millions on newspapers and not have access to politicians.

     
  120.  
    1551:

    After dissecting email after email relating to the BSkyB bid, the inquiry moves on to press regulation. Mr Murdoch agrees he is not in favour of much external regulation, but does not think there should be none. "It's often necessary and appropriate," he says.

     
  121.  
    1553:

    "There's a question about clarity with respect to accountability around newsgathering," Mr Murdoch says. It is important that journalists making decisions about what is in the public interest have greater certainties than simply relying on the Crown Prosecution Service.

     
  122.  
    Ian Katz, Deputy Editor, The Guardian

    tweets: J Murdoch reference to 40 Guardian corrections on News Corp presumably counts all articles changed to reflect new Dowler deletion evidence

     
  123.  
    1602:

    A key issue facing regulation is how to differentiate between media, Mr Murdoch tells Lord Justice Leveson. "The traditional newsprint business will struggle to grow from where it is, there will be fewer newspapers in the future," he says.

     
  124.  
    1608:

    A lighter exchange after discussions over the complexities of regulation in a multi-media world. Lord Justice Leveson: "I'm not sure you've given me an answer." Mr Murdoch: I think that's a little above my pay grade, sir. Lord Justice Leveson: "I doubt it." [general laughter follows]

     
  125.  
    Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Source tells me Hunt is not even considering resignation and will give his own evidence at #Leveson

     
  126.  
    1613:

    Away from the inquiry, Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie says First Minister Alex Salmond has been "sullied" by evidence suggesting he offered to lobby Jeremy Hunt over the BSkyB bid. Mr Rennie adds: "We need an immediate investigation into the circumstances which led to such an outrageous exchange taking place."

     
  127.  
    1616:

    Meanwhile Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont, says Mr Salmond "shames Scotland" with an offer to "support Murdoch in return for Murdoch's papers supporting Salmond". He calls for Scotland's First Minister to be called as a witness and says Mr Salmond was not acting in the interests of the Scottish people.

     
  128.  
    1617:

    Back at the Royal Courts of Justice, possible successors to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) are discussed for the first time. Mr Murdoch says there have "clearly been failings" in journalistic practices and he'd like to see a greater balance of people involved in the body from outside the working press.

     
  129.  
    1618:

    And that wraps up proceedings for the day, with James Murdoch's father, Rupert, due to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry at 10:00 BST on Wednesday.

     
  130.  
    1621: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    Downing Street says the prime minister has full confidence in Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. A No 10 spokesman says he will not comment on details of Mr Murdoch's evidence because it was at a judicial inquiry.

     
  131.  
    1623: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    The PM has not spoken to Jeremy Hunt since cabinet this morning, says No 10. Jeremy Hunt has not offered to resign. The PM stands by comments that he had no inappropriate conversations with James Murdoch regarding the BSkyB bid and "had done nothing wrong", the Downing Street spokesman adds.

     
  132.  
    Phone-hacking whistleblower Steven Nott

    tweets: Don't expect Cameron to lie down & be taken apart with #Leveson revelations. Theyre after Labour for not preventing Phone Hacking from start.

     
  133.  
    1627:

    All of the appendices to James Murdoch's written witness statement - including many of the controversial emails referring to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's office - have been published on the Leveson Inquiry website.

     
  134.  
    James Murdoch and David Cameron in 2007
     
  135.  
    1629:

    It's been a dramatic day's evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics, as former News International chairman James Murdoch defended practices at his father Rupert's media empire. Here's a quick summary of the key moments:

    • Mr Murdoch denies Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt acted as a "cheerleader" for the company's bid for BSkyB or that he was a "huge ally"
    • He says he "stood by" testimony he never saw an email showing phone hacking went beyond one reporter
    • Mr Murdoch says he discussed the BSkyB bid with David Cameron at the home of former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks on 23 December 2010 - seven months after Mr Cameron became prime minister
    • The inquiry reveals he met Mr Cameron 12 times while he was leader of the opposition, including four with Ms Brooks
     
  136.  
    1643:

    Proceedings at the Royal Courts of Justice may be over but the political storm over the day's evidence rumbles on. Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman is calling on Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to resign, claiming his conduct has fallen "woefully short" of the standard expected of him.

     
  137.  
    Norman Smith, BBC News Channel chief political correspondent

    tweets: Sources close to Jeremy Hunt say he will defend himself robustly and in detail when appears before Leveson in next few weeks.

     
  138.  
    Norman Smith, BBC News Channel chief political correspondent

    tweets: Sources close to Jeremy Hunt say observed all proper procedures when overseeing BSKYB bid

     
  139.  
    1657:

    Former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris, from the Hacked Off campaign, tells the BBC he is "astonished" by revelations about "secret communications" between News Corp and members of the government over the company's BSkyB bid.

     
  140.  
    1659:

    Mr Harris says it is hard to find any emails between the two parties that were appropriate and echoes Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman's call for Jeremy Hunt to resign as culture secretary.

     
  141.  
    1700: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    Many people will be surprised by the level, frequency and nature of the contact between the government and Mr Murdoch's team. Even without the "killer blow", it seems there's still potential for profound damage to Jeremy Hunt's position, and the government's position.

     
  142.  
    1702:

    More from former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris, who tells the BBC it is "totally inappropriate" for Jeremy Hunt to have given confidential information to News Corporation about what he was thinking, given he was judging the BSkyB bid. "His position simply isn't tenable and if he doesn't resign that would be astonishing."

     
  143.  
    1705:

    Further detail emerges about Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman's calls for Mr Hunt's resignation. Raising a point of order in the Commons, she said: "The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport assured the House that in respect of the News Corp bid for BSkyB that he was acting, as Secretary of State, in a quasi-judicial capacity and, above all, in a way that was impartial and fair."

     
  144.  
    1707:

    "In view of the evidence that has been adduced before the Leveson Inquiry today it appears that the Secretary of State has fallen woefully short of the standards expected by his office and by the public interest," Ms Harman said, adding: "The right thing for the Secretary of State to do would be to come to this House to offer an apology and to tender his resignation."

     
  145.  
    1711:

    Labour's former culture secretary Ben Bradshaw demands that PM David Cameron appears before MPs to correct an earlier assertion from Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt that "any conversations the prime minister had with James Murdoch were irrelevant". That is an apparent reference Mr Murdoch's evidence that he briefly discussed News Corp's BSkyB bid with the PM.

     
  146.  
    1713:

    The BBC's cameras catch up with the culture secretary but Mr Hunt reiterates he is saying nothing about Mr Murdoch's evidence at the moment.

     
  147.  
    1720:

    "I need to read through all the evidence that has been submitted and I'll make a statement," Mr Hunt tells a BBC reporter.

    Jeremy Hunt
     
  148.  
    1722:

    As commentators assess the political fallout of the release of emails concerning News Corp's bid for BSkyB, a reminder that the company had sought to buy the 61% share in the broadcaster it did not already own. However, it dropped the bid on 13 July last year after public outcry over the hacking by the News of the World of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone.

     
  149.  
    1729:

    Media select committee chairman, the Conservative John Whittingdale, tells the BBC that Jeremy Hunt should not resign: "It's incredibly unfair to start behaving like a lynch mob and demanding his resignation when all we've heard is internal emails between employees of News International."

     
  150.  
    1733:

    Mr Whittingdale says the overwhelming majority of contacts mentioned in those emails were between Mr Hunt's special advisers, or culture department officials, and News Corporation public affairs staff. That is not "that surprising", he says, given the size of the company and the importance of the matter. "For a long time this wasn't Jeremy Hunt's decision. It only became his decision later in the process," he adds.

     
  151.  
    1735: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    By providing secret information to "team Murdoch" behind the back of his coalition partners, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has brought trust into question. Trust is the glue that holds the coalition together. I wonder, frankly, how on earth Jeremy Hunt and [Lib Dem Business Secretary] Vince Cable can sit across the cabinet table from each other.

     
  152.  
    1737:

    Paul Connew, former News of the World deputy editor, tells the BBC Mr Murdoch's evidence was "very, very revealing" and could not have come at a worse time for PM David Cameron, with opinion polls showing a "crisis of confidence amongst the electorate".

     
  153.  
    1747:

    Labour leader Ed Miliband tells the BBC Jeremy Hunt's duty was "to be transparent, impartial and fair" but says instead the culture secretary was "providing advice, guidance and privileged access to News Corporation". He adds: "He cannot stay in his post and, if he refuses to resign, the prime minister must show some leadership and fire him."

     
  154.  
    1749: Nick Robinson Political editor

    Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has the full backing of the prime minister to stay in his job. Mr Hunt denies he or his advisers had any inappropriate contact with Mr Murdoch and says the documents presented to the Leveson Inquiry earlier were not accurate.

     
  155.  
    1754:

    Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is expected to make a statement shortly. Today's evidence appeared to suggest News Corp believed an adviser to Mr Salmond would call Mr Hunt on the company's behalf "whenever" required.

     
  156.  
    1759:

    Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie calls on Mr Salmond "to come clean" about his dealings with News International. "Those of us who desire a more progressive Scotland will be concerned to learn how closely Mr Salmond appears to have courted Mr Murdoch," he adds.

     
  157.  
    1801:

    In a statement, Mr Salmond's spokesman dismisses the references to Scotland's First Minister in today's evidence as "internal chatter". It adds: "It is total nonsense to suggest there was ever any quid pro quo offered by the Scottish government over the BSkyB bid, and nor could there possibly have been, because the Scottish government had absolutely no determination over BSkyB's ownership."

     
  158.  
    1803:

    The statement from Mr Salmond's spokesman continues: "James Murdoch categorically rejected such claims in his evidence to the inquiry, and the proof of that lies in the fact that the first minister has never spoken to or corresponded with Jeremy Hunt on this issue." Mr Salmond "looks forward" to reiterating his case in evidence at the Leveson Inquiry, it adds.

     
  159.  
    1806: Nick Robinson Political editor

    Jeremy Hunt has told colleagues that both he and his officials behaved properly in their relationships with James Murdoch and News Corporation. He believes that the evidence presented to the Leveson Inquiry was one person's exaggerated account of contacts between the company and his political adviser.

     
  160.  
    James Ball, The Guardian

    tweets: Those suggesting Hunt staying is a savvy "human shield" tactic should remember that was the suggested reason for NI keeping Rebekah Brooks

     
  161.  
    1808: Nick Robinson Political editor

    Mr Hunt was publicly sympathetic to News Corps bid to take full control of British SKY Broadcasting before he was the minister in charge of overseeing the process. However, he has always insisted that once responsibility was transferred to his department from the Business Department he set up "a rock solid process" which ensured that at all times ministers were advised by the broadcasting regulator, Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading.

     
  162.  
    Helen Lewis, Assistant editor, New Statesman

    tweets: Hope Jeremy Hunt's CV is up to date. He should probably remove "giving in to News Corp lobbying" from his "Hobbies" section, though.

     
  163.  
    1817: Robert Peston Business editor

    This is dynamite for the government because Jeremy Hunt was supposed to be... completely impartial. Yet email after email... is suggesting the government is giving lots of help to BSkyB in the form of very valuable confidential information.

     
  164.  
    1818: Robert Peston Business editor

    The emails are backed up by texts to [News Corp public relations chief] Mr Michel from Mr Hunt's special adviser, a man called Adam Smith. That's why many people believe that if Jeremy Hunt is going to survive, his special adviser may have to quit.

     
  165.  
    1828:

    Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is yet to make a statement on James Murdoch's evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. However, this clip recalls what he told BBC Newsnight in March 2011 about the decision over who could bid for BSkyB shares.

     
  166.  
    Rafael Behr, Chief Political Commentator, New Statesman

    tweets: Poss explanations for emails: 1. Hunt Spad went rogue 2.Frederic Michel delusional 3. Hunt saw helping News Corp as part of job description.

     
  167.  
    Wife of the Commons Speaker Sally Bercow

    tweets: But Hunt is just Dave's puppet. Ultimate career politician who believes in diddly apart from climbing ladder. Puppetmaster Dave must go too.

     
  168.  
    1849:

    Questioned closely about phone hacking, James Murdoch was "wary and subdued, seemingly semi-detached from events at News International", notes BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas in his blog. However, when questioned on its relations with the government, Mr Murdoch was "very much in command of a business he was passionate about", our correspondent says.

     
  169.  
    1856:

    For further analysis of the fallout from the day's events, check out the blogs of business editor Robert Peston, who reminds readers the emails do not suggest News Corp was talking to Jeremy Hunt directly, and political editor Nick Robinson, who says the culture secretary has asked for his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry to be brought forward.

     
  170.  
    Allegra Stratton Political editor, BBC Newsnight

    tweets: Pity a minister in a maternity ward. Michel and Hunt's wives gave birth in same ward on same night, Michel's intro says.

     
  171.  
    1917:

    We hear Jeremy Hunt is expected to make a statement at 19:35 BST.

     
  172.  
    1920:

    In fact, Jeremy Hunt has just spoken, telling reporters he was confident that "when I present my evidence the public will see that I conducted this process with scrupulous fairness".

     
  173.  
    1921:

    "Now is not a time for knee-jerk reactions," the culture secretary continues. "We've heard one side of the story today but some of the evidence reported meetings and conversations that simply didn't happen."

     
  174.  
    1926:

    To round up the rest of Mr Hunt's statement, it says: "Rather than jump on [the] political bandwagon, we need to hear what Lord Justice Leveson thinks after he's heard all the evidence. Let me be clear my number one priority was to give the public confidence in the integrity of process. I asked for advice from independent regulators - which I didn't have to do - and I followed that advice to the letter."

     
  175.  
    Nicholas Watt, political correspondent The Guardian

    tweets: Hilarious fact No 1 about Fr\u00e9d\u00e9ric Michel: he is good mates with Nick Clegg and plays tennis regularly with DPM. Hilarious fact No 2 about Fr\u00e9d\u00e9ric Michel: he had a 'spectacular' falling out with Peter Mandelson at Policy Network #leveson

     
  176.  
    1944:

    That statement from embattled Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt - confirming he has no plans to resign and will give his side of the story to the Leveson Inquiry - wraps up a remarkable day, which featured:

    • Email evidence suggesting the culture secretary privately expressed support for News Corporation's bid to take full control of BSkyB, prompting Labour calls for him to resign
    • News Corporation's James Murdoch denying Mr Hunt was a "cheerleader" for the bid
    • Suggestions that Alex Salmond had offered to make representations to Mr Hunt on behalf of News Corp - later refuted by Scotland's first minister
    • Mr Murdoch revealing he met David Cameron 12 times when he was Leader of the Opposition, and had a brief discussion with him about the proposed BSkyB takeover at a Christmas dinner when he was PM
     
  177.  
    1947:

    And that brings our live coverage of the Leveson Inquiry to an end. Wednesday promises to be another intriguing day, with James Murdoch's father and News Corp head, Rupert, due to give evidence.

     

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